Tag Archives: Linda’s Book Bag


‘A smashing book for children – of all ages!’ Linda’s Book Bag is over the moon about The Spacesuit!

Linda at Linda’s Book Bag has posted such a terrific review for The Spacesuit by Alison Donald that we just had to quote most of it in full!:

What a wonderful, timely book The Spacesuit is. It might be designed for children but it brought back so many memories from 50 years ago for me and introduced me to a whole new aspect of the moon landings I’d never considered before. Just who made those first spacesuits? Indeed, entertainment and nostalgia aside, there’s a vitally important message here. We know so much about the first man on the moon, but what about the women behind that achievement? Based on real people, in The Spacesuit we discover Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Foraker who was instrumental in creating the spacesuits used. The Spacesuit gives credence and status to all in a message so important to children. Similarly, I thoroughly appreciated the inclusion of those of different ethnicities in Ariel Landy’s colourful and enhancing illustrations.

There’s so much to discover in The Spacesuit as facts and figures adorn every part of the book, from the inside covers, and across the title pages to throughout the story so whilst it’s possible simply to read the book as an entertainment, with jeopardy making it exciting, so much can be learnt too. I had no idea that 21 layers were used in those first spacesuits, for example.

Facts aside, there are wonderful messages about perseverance, team work, doing your best and being proud of your achievements. Ellie’s childhood hobby becomes a career and ultimately a world changing skill so that children can see that their aspirations can be fulfilled regardless of their background. What could be better than that?

The Spacesuit offers something different every time it’s read. It has the potential for so many uses with children that I can see it forming the basis of home and school projects. How about researching those constellation patterns perhaps or playing with onomatopoeic language in the whir of the machines and where exactly is Texas on the map? There really is a wealth of material (forgive the pun) to be enjoyed here.

Finally, I love the fact that the book brings us right up to date with a code to scan for more information. The Spacesuit is a smashing book for children – of all ages!’

Thank you, Linda! Read the whole review here

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‘Maverick have captured the very best of children’s fiction’ Linda’s Book Bag checks out 3 new picture books!

Linda’s Book Bag has posted a smashing review of three of our most recent picture books:

‘This is such a fun story with considerable humour for children and adults alike. 

The Pirate Who Lost His Name has just enough piratey direct speech to give authenticity without undermining language acquisition for children. Indeed, the mis-use of ‘me’ instead of ‘my’, ‘ye’ for ‘you’ and ‘yer’ for ‘your’ would make excellent talking points about how our language helps create an impression of who we are. So too would the elements that make up the pirate. I can imagine lots of discussion about stereotypes leading to role play and great excitement. The fact that the pirates are not all male and that others in the story have different coloured skin, are different shapes and sizes and ages conveys super messages about equality and acceptance.

The illustrations are a joy because they help tell the story. There’s so many opportunities to use the book in several ways with numeracy through counting the different style of beards perhaps, or creativity in deciding the parrot’s name, for example.

Once again, Lou Treleaven has created a super book for children.’

‘What a clever book! Adults will love the word play references to music from the farmer being called Joni to Moo-grass and Discow genres or the animal band being called The Jersey Bleats, and I can envisage lots of fun being had with children as the real versions of music are discovered too. There’s a real opportunity for class room research here as well as simply sharing a story with a child in the home. Geography, music, newspapers and money could all become linked topics.

Whilst most of the language used is fully accessible and slightly older children would be able to read The Moosic Makers independently, there are smashing new words like ‘winsome’ to extend vocabulary so that children learn through their enjoyment. I would chat with them about safety too when Nutmeg and Celery hitch-hike home so that stranger danger might be discussed in a safe and comforting environment. Mr Smarm affords a similar opportunity.

The illustrations add a smashing level of interest. 

The Moosic Makers would be a valuable addition to any home or classroom.’

I, Pod is a brilliant story for children. There’s smashing humour as Pod tries to get Nim to learn his name and there are great spelling and phonetic opportunities as she attaches the wrong letter instead of d. The use of onomatopoeia illustrates how children can develop their own writing too.

The story is exciting and dramatic so that children will be hugely engaged. Illustrations are vibrant and exciting. I think some children might even be slightly frightened by the images of the fish and tiger so that they can discuss emotions and fear safely with the adults, but many will just love the level of peril and the opportunity to discover a story set in the time of dinosaurs. This works especially well when it’s actually a mammoth who saves the day.

I thought it was inspired to find Pod trying to think of an excuse for all Nim’s missing belongings as fibbing and taking responsibility are aspects of life children need to understand.

I really enjoyed I, Pod and I know children will too.’

Thank you, Linda!

The full review is here

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‘A smashing children’s story’ Linda’s Book Bag reviews new purple band Early Reader!

We’ve spotted a lovely review from Linda’s Book Bag for new purple band Early Reader Wishker by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Sarah Jennings which was published just this week:

I thought the range of punctuation was very skilfully handled so that question marks, exclamation marks and ellipsis are naturally exemplified enabling emergent writers to see how they might be used. There’s a super use of language too with a little word play in ‘Purr-haps’ and great onomatopoeia, but with accessible and familiar vocabulary to give children confidence in their own writing and reading. The questions at the end of the book enable adults to check children’s understanding and they provide a lovely opportunity for adults and children to discuss and share together.

There’s a clear moral to the story too with Mirabel learning that you have to be careful what you wish for and not to be too greedy.

However, those educational elements aside Wishker is a smashing children’s story in its own right. There’s a great plot, with humour and relationships woven through it. The illustrations by Sarah Jennings are simply wonderful. They are bright, colourful and interesting. I can see that they would afford lots of opportunity for counting, identifying and sharing.

I thought Wishker was a smashing children’s story.’

Thanks, Linda! Read the full review here and order a copy here.

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‘Brilliant for home or classroom reading’ Linda’s Book Bag jumps for joy over Froggy Day!

Linda’s Book Bag posted a ribbet-ing great review for new picture book Froggy Day by Heather Pindar with over 300 frog illustrations by the intrepid Barbara Bakos:

‘I loved this funny and engaging children’s read. Froggy Day is such a beautifully produced book with vibrant illustrations that not only enhance the story, but that are in a style that appeals to adults and children alike. 

I thought the story was smashing as the froggy situations are ones that children can identify with so that there is a familiarity as well as a running joke of such unusual weather. Settings contain the town and the country so that children in all locations can feel included. The diversity of people such as having Jan in a hard hat as a construction worker gives perfect subliminal messages to children too.

As usual for me when reviewing children’s books, I can’t help commenting on the educational aspects and Froggy Day is just great. I love the playing with language so that children are encouraged to experiment with sounds and to have fun with language. I like the way the story ends because children can develop oracy as they predict what might happen with the weather the next day. I think there’s great educational value for numeracy in the illustrations too as children could count how many frogs they find.

Froggy Day is funny, fun and engaging. It would be brilliant for home or classroom reading and I can imagine children wanting to read it, or have it read to them, over and over again. It’s a smashing children’s book that I heartily recommend.’

Thanks, Linda! Read the full review and order a copy here 

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‘Super to share with children of indeterminate gender or who are adopted’ Linda’s Book Bag reviews Not Yet a Yeti!

Linda’s Book Bag has posted an absolutely smashing review of new picture book Not Yet a Yeti by Lou Treleaven will illustrations by Tony Neal:

Oh, this is a lovely children’s book. In common with all the Maverick children’s books I’ve read, Not Yet A Yeti is beautifully presented with glorious illustrations and a high quality feel.

What is so appealing about Not Yet A Yeti is the wonderful message that being different is not a bad thing. 

The language is so well balanced with challenge in some of the vocabulary like ‘survive’ and ‘massive’ as well as familiarity and repetition, making for a book that can be shared at home or in school or can be read independently as children become more confident.

Without wishing to go too far, I think Not Yet a Yeti would be super to share with children of indeterminate gender or who are adopted as the story makes it clear that it is perfectly acceptable to be different and reading it would enhance their self worth and esteem.

I think Not Yet A Yeti is a book that will soon become a firm favourite with adults and children alike. I loved it.’

Thanks so much, Linda! That is a truly wonderful review.

Read the whole review here and buy a copy here

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‘Perfect for school or home’ New Early Readers get the thumbs up from Linda’s Book Bag!

Linda’s Book Bag posted a wonderful review of two of our 10 new yellow and blue band Early Readers publishing at the end of August this week:

Both books are beautifully produced. They are just the right size for young children to handle and have the perfect length to keep focus and attention without overwhelming. The use of repetition helps reinforce the sounds and spellings in the vocabulary and there is sufficient challenge so that new words can be learnt too. The stories are fun and interesting.

The balance of text to image is just right. The images are really lovely as colours are vibrant and eye-catching with a style children can relate to and will love. As well as promoting literacy, both book have excellent value in other areas of the curriculum. Oracy and memory are helped by the small quiz sections at the end of the books and in King Carl and the Wish in particular, numeracy and counting to five are woven throughout the story. I can envisage The Pop Puffin as a brilliant way in to project work or Forest School activities for example, as children learn about different birds.

I thought The Pop Puffin and King Carl and the Wish were just delightful. They’re fun, vibrant, educational and entertaining. This series is perfect for school or home and children will love the books.’

Thank you, Linda! Read the full review here.

There are 60 titles in the Early Readers scheme. Libraries and schools can buy them from all good wholesalers and educational suppliers.

Parents can order them from Amazon, The Book Depository or through Gardners Hive which enables online ordering and collection at a local bookshop of your choice.


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‘A corker of a children’s book and I thoroughly recommend it’ Linda’s Book Bag reviews Buttercup Sunshine! 

Linda’s Book Bag just posted a fantastic review for Buttercup Sunshine and the Zombies of Dooooom by Colin Mulhern:

‘I thought Buttercup Sunshine and the Zombies of Dooooom was a cracking children’s book. It’s really well plotted with an ending that leads nicely into any future adventures for Buttercup. The language is so accessible that children could read it to themselves and I think it would be a perfect story for older more reluctant readers too. I can see 10 and 11 year old reluctant readers thoroughly enjoying this book. The story is exciting, scary and frequently very funny, particularly when Mr Blackberry is being approached by a zombie – but you’ll have to read the book to find out why!

Buttercup is a triumph of characterisation. She retains enough childhood innocence as she plays at being an undercover agent with her partner Barry the toad, only to find herself at the centre of saving the inhabitants of Briar’s Cove. This makes her an excellent role model, illustrating that girls can have just as many and as exciting adventures as boys. I also loved the idea that it might just be possible to knit your way out of trouble.

The illustrations accompanying the text are a triumph. Children will love the staring eyes of the zombies and the reaching, grasping hands. My favourite image was Buttercup’s ‘warrior pose’.

I also liked the inclusion of questions with Colin Mulhern at the end of the story. They would be great discussion points for either home of classroom use. In fact, I think Buttercup Sunshine and the Zombies of Dooooom would be a brilliant class reader for primary schools. With horror and comedy, and science and nature included, there’s so much to be explored beyond the initial narrative.’

Thank you so much! The full review is here

This first book in the new Comedy Horror for Kids series is publishing 28 September and you can pre-order here


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